In my last post I gave my first impressions of The Big Easy® Smoker, Roaster & Grill from Char-Broil. Now it's time to see how this bad boy performs. I figured that a roasted chicken is a great place to start.
I started with two chickens that were as close in weight as I could find. They were both within a couple tenths of an ounce of 5 1/4 lbs in the package. By the time I drained and trimmed them, they were probably right at five pounds.
As for prep, I trussed them and seasoned each liberally inside and out with my bold rub. This is essentially the same as my standard mild rub, but with half the sugar and double the chiles and pepper.
I put each one in a zip-top bag and marinated them for 36 hours. Whoa! That is a long time, but it was just because I couldn't find time to cook them sooner. Overnight is more than enough time.
Because I was in a hurry the night I cooked them, I took them out of the fridge and warmed each in the microwave (still in the bag) on defrost for about 2 1/2 minutes each. I would normally just leave them out at room temperature for an hour, but this worked well.
Next I preheated the cooker on high with the basket and half-racks in it for about 10 minutes. Then I removed the half racks, put the first chicken on the bottom of the basket, installed the half racks about an inch above the top of the first chicken, then added the second.
Although the instructions for roasting tell you to cook with the lid open, I was in a hurry and decided to cook with the lid down for 30 minutes then open it to brown the skin. This turned out to be a good plan.
Here is how they looked after an hour of cooking on high; 30 minutes with the lid closed and another 30 with it open. As you can see, the top bird was pretty brown, but what you can't see is that the bottom one wasn't nearly that brown, so I simply rotated them.
When I rotated them I checked the temperature in the thigh and they were at about 150º. They need to get to 165º, so I closed the lid and checked them again fifteen minutes later.
At 75 minutes they were at about 160º, so I opened the lid to give the skin a final crisp. I pulled them off at 90 minutes and rested them for about 15 minutes.
The final verdict with the family was unanimously great. My wife raved about how moist the breast was, and the shorties loved it as well.
I am really impressed with how well this thing cooked the chickens. It was easy and the results spoke for themselves. This is only my first cook, but I am intrigued to see how it smokes and grills.
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Additional posts about this cooker:
Big Easy Turkey